Executive used and the results gathered, a discussion

Executive Summary

The
purpose of this research report is to address the continuous issue of women gender
stereotyping in American media, specifically advertising and its societal
effects on the average American consumer. In an ever growing digital age, the
use of advertising to promote products/services has exponentially increased as
well. Media has become an influential part in all consumers’ behavior and
thinking, which results in a skewed and controlled state of mind directed by
large corporations and advertisements.

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This
report aims to address gender role misrepresentation of women in advertising by
implementing guidelines for submission and approval by commissioning board into
advertising award shows (ADDY Awards, Cannes Lions International, The Webby
Award, etc.) before being able to qualify. By requiring the top advertising
agencies to adhere to such guidelines, this will in turn influence their
content creation as well as influence of smaller media creatorsJM1 .

This
report provides a description of the research methods used and the results
gathered, a discussion of the results’ meaning, and a conclusion. The report
ends with the recommendation of implementing developmental guidelines in
relation to gender roles for American advertisements.

 

1. Introduction

 

Throughout
history, media and advertising have directly effected societal behavior and
perceptions. From war propaganda campaigns with Uncle Sam to sexualized women
on beer campaigns, advertising has remained predictable and cliché. In a broad
generalization, men traditionally are expected to be masculine, strong,
aggressive, dominant, rational, and active. Women are believed to be feminine,
weak, submissive, emotional, and passive. Men are generally associated with
technology, drinking and promiscuity, while women are associated with household
chores and shopping, social drinking with friends, and stable sexual commitments.

However, looking at current society we do not have to look far to realize that
not all fit in the above picturesJM2 .

During the last several decades there has
been noticeable changes in the role of gender, specifically women in society,
both as those who earn money and those who spend money. In 1940, women
comprised about 20% of the workforce in the United States, while today that
percentage reaches 50% (U.S. Department of Labor, 2014JM3 )(2).

In addition, the family structure in the United States has changed: fewer
two-parent families and larger numbers of single parents, larger percentage of
same-sex relations and families as well as larger non-heterosexual orientation
(U.S. Department of Labor, 2014). This trend continues today yet does not show
in advertising with research showing men are 62% more likely to be portrayed as
intelligent and one in three men are shown with an occupation compared to one
in four women as well as 48% more likely to be shown in the kitchen (2).

With such strides in gender roles in society
however, comes slow improvement in advertising representation. And while
advertising often prides itself in being ahead of the curve in innovation, they
often lack in that of gender role reflection. As Brent Choi, chief creative
officer at J. Walter Thompson stated, “What research shows is that our industry
has tent-pole moments, amazing actions or campaigns when we all rally around
women, but when it comes to creating our ‘regular’ ads for our ‘regular’ clients,
we forget about them.” Advertising and media as an organization has the power
to reflect and influence culture unlike any other platform. With this power
however comes the need for changeJM4 .

Through my methods and research, I will prove
my hypothesis that women are statistically and culturally misrepresented in
advertising through gender-role stereotyping.

 

2.

Methods

Information for this report came from three
different types of sources: electronic sources, print sources, and an empirical
sourceJM5 .

A majority of the sources used are electronic scholarly journals and articles
to provide academic and analytical perspective of the topic. Previous printed
research provided by University of Minnesota’s Journalism School library
provided advanced methods previously conducted on the issue, and empirical
research in the form of an anonymous survey (see Appendix for specific
questions) was utilized to acquire first hand opinions for this report.

The
empirical research for this report was gathered through a brief 5 minute online
anonymous questionnaire (see Appendix for interview questions). The survey was
posted on various web locations including personal blog, direct emails, and
social media accounts (Reddit & Facebook). This form of empirical sourcing
was voluntary and allowed the questionnaire taker to answer openly and freely
due to anonymity. The questions were live for 15 consecutive days in the month
of November and a total of 237 people completed the surveyJM6 .

The print sources that are used in this paper
are all sourced from the University of Minnesota’s database systems and the
Journalism School library. Multiple databases were utilized to ensure that
perspectives from different fields are included. Business sources offer
understandings on the corporate effects of traditional gender role advertising.

Psychology/research sources analyze the effect of media and advertising in
societal and personal behavior and mentality, specifically towards the views of
sexuality. All sources come from peer reviewed journals to ensure that the
information contained within them is reputable and agreed upon by academics in
the fieldJM7 .

The source which was most directly related to
this report was research done by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media,
a leading organization in gender representation reporting (3). The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
uses what they refer to as GD-IQ to gather its data. By partnering with Google,
the institute developed the technology which uses audio and video recognition to
analyze how many women are in ads versus men and how much screen time and
speaking time women get. The technology was then put to use to analyze more than 2,000 Cannes
Lions films from 2006 to 2016 and included ad samples across 33 different
categories, from cosmetics to insurance to social causes.

The final source used is electronic. While
there is a higher chance of finding unreliable information online, electronic
sources allow for a broader variability of information as well as the sourcing
needed for large scale reporting. The electronic source I have used comeJM8 
from reputable online sources to guarantee reliable informationJM9 .

These sources include: Marketing Week and AdAge which are corporate leaders in
their respective field.

 

3.

Results

With the information presented in the methods
sections of this report being established, further research with be evaluated
to correctly answer the hypothesis. The sources mentioned above will be used to
help in the reporting of this topic. 
Graphical data from research papers & the empirical survey will also
play a vital role in this section.

            The
first source used in developing this report was the research done by the Geena
Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which methods were previously discussed in the
above section. The research primarily focused on film as well as television
commercial advertising. Through a ten-year gap in data, observed changes were
shown including women
consistently accounting for only about one third of all characters in
commercials, across all years tested. With a current 1.06 male/female ratio in
American, 33.9% of characters were women in 2006 while in 2016 the figure had
hardly changed, reaching only 36.9% (3). The featured infographic displays
further research done by the Geena Davis Institute in the form of a survey
directed towards women and their views on gender representation in film and
media. The survey shows that women have observed significant misrepresentation
in this field in comparison to men along with negative connotations surrounded
by their gender.

Figure 1:
Infographic created by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (2017)

 

            The second research method used to
analyze my hypothesis were print sources provided by the University of
Minnesota School of Journalism library. In the second edition of Kim Bartel
Sheehan’s book Controversies in
Contemporary Advertising, she states, “research has found that there are
twice as many male characters in (print & television) ads as female
characters and 25% of ads feature men only, in comparison to just 5% featuring
women only. Similarly, 18% of (television) ads feature male voices, while less
than 3% of ads feature female voices only.” the research then goes on by
revealing that one in 10 female characters are shown in
sexually revealing clothing, six times the number of male characters (7). With such strong female sexualization
and inaccurate stereotyping have led to negative consequences
for women, such as body dissatisfaction, limitation of professional
opportunities, and lowered self-confidence. Since gender identities are heavily
constructed through societal depiction (5), advertisements such as these proposes
lifestyles and forms of self-presentation that individuals use to inaccurately
define their roles in the society.

            To
have the most current opinions on the topic of gender role stereotyping in
media, I personally conducted an anonymous online survey which methods were
previously discussed. The results of the survey showed an overwhelming belief
of gender stereotyping in advertisement (90.7%) as well as the acknowledgement that
advertising and media have an effect on societal behavior towards gender roles
(75.1%).

 JM1Who
is going to enforce these rules?

 JM2Possibly
show images to help prove your point, otherwise this can jus be looked at as an
opinion.

 JM3Relate
this to your papers topic . otherwise it just seems random

 JM4
The purpose of this report is never fully stated here, just topics that kind of
hint at what your talking about. There should also be more on the importance of
this topic as well as you hypothesis if this is a research paper.  I would say you need to make it clear whether
you are doing a recommendation or research paper.

 JM5I
think it is redundant to list the sources and then explain more about then in
the next sentence I would do one or the other.

 JM6 I
like the idea of the survey, but it is important to remember that if you are
trying to get advertising agencies that advertise all over the worlds 237
peoples opinions really doesn’t hold much weight when there’s 7 billion people
in the world. Also I would be curios to see the question you asked, like did you
track demographics in anyway? Because if not its hard to prove that people from
all backgrounds took the survey. And it would be wise to show that people
weren’t able to take this survey more than once, because that could greatly
skew your results if this is for research.

 JM7For
these articles you need to explain the methods used in specific research
papers, not just generalize many papers. 
It would be better to take one paper and go in depth on the research
methodology used. It would also be a good idea to state the name of the
research to add more reliability to this section.

 JM8Comes

 JM9Same
as comment 11 here, so the reader how this source did its research and talk
about the methods and show it’s a reliable source. If not the person reading
this just has to take your word on it, and for a research paper that usually
doesn’t go well. 

x

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